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Crisis management involves an organization (for example a university) dealing with events which threatens to harm the stakeholders of the organization. On 14th February 2008, immediately after 3 pm, a gunman entered a large lecture hall in Northern Illinois University and opened…
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Lecture Case Study: Managing a Crisis after a Campus Gun Shooting – Northern Illinois Public Relations Process Crisis management involves an organization (for example a university) dealing with events which threatens to harm the stakeholders of the organization. On 14th February 2008, immediately after 3 pm, a gunman entered a large lecture hall in Northern Illinois University and opened fire into 150 students’ audience. Five people plus the gunman died within the first three minutes, and nineteen other students got gunshot injuries. In the subsequent minutes, hours and even day the public affairs section of the university effectively managed the crisis communications techniques and methods like; emergency alerts, speech writing, news conferences, media relations, messages and events management. The crisis management process shown by the Northern Illinois University is effective and efficient; because after one year it is undisputable that the university’s reputation is intact (Russell 87). One of the major targets of the crisis management effort is; to increase campus emergency preparedness, through organizing staff training on crisis communication.
The outcome objectives of the crisis management involved: 1) to eliminate future campus emergencies, this can the through putting in place appropriate prevention mechanisms or resources; 2) to improve the reputation of the university, this was realized through proper crisis management communication; and 3) to minimize or eliminate legal suits on learning institutions during emergency cases. The Output objectives of the crisis management exercise at the university entailed: 1) to utilize the university website in providing the crisis updates to the audiences and the media; 2) to ensure institutional reputation and credibility through effective and efficient disclosure; 3) and to give emergency alerts to all the stakeholders, as quickly as possible (Jay, et al. 17).
Both the quantitative and qualitative measures were used in determining the effectiveness of the crisis management approach, which was used by the Northern Illinois University. The quantitative measure indicated that; the university did not receive any law suit which relates to the gunman crisis; the financial gifts given to the university to fund sponsorships and memorial programs exceeded $1 million; and only 19 students who were personally affected by the gunman incident left the campus. The qualitative method used to indicate effectiveness involve; the Task Force on Campus Security formed by the Governor of Illinois made a report showing excellence of the university in crisis management; NBC Nightly News named the Northern Illinois University as its ‘Person of the Week’ due to effective emergency management; and the Public Affairs employees of the university are in high demand, as crisis management consultants (Barton 291).
One proposed output evaluation objective is; to assist other learning institutions in formulating and implementing crisis management policies. This evaluation objective can be measured either quantitatively or qualitatively; quantitative measurement may involve the number of staffs selected as crisis management trainers in one year. In conclusion, every crisis enables an organization to showcase its commitment and values; the gunman crisis enabled the Northern Illinois University its ‘caring university’ value.
Works Cited
Barton, L. Crisis leadership now: A real-world guide to preparing for threats, disaster, sabotage, and scandal. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.
Jay Levine et al. 6 Dead in N. Illinois University Massacre, CBS 2-Chicago, February 15, 2008
Russell, Goldman. Reports of Shooting at Northern Illinois University; ABC News, February 14, 2008 Read More
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